Despite the title of this post, I can assure you that I am not, repeat NOT some peace-loving, birkenstock-wearing, dope-smoking, ponytailed leftover old hippie relic from the 1970's. Actually, that would apply more to Henry than to me (well, not the ponytail part). Or at least it did "back in the day." (Hint: the peace symbol necklace pictured here does NOT belong to me). Good thing we didn't know each other then!
But even Henry didn't love granola. Neither did I, so that's probably one thing we could have agreed upon.
I already confessed in a recent post that I don't like Valentine's Day. Well, in addition to that (and granola), here's another thing I don't like: BRUNCH!
Why not, you ask? Mostly it's because you eat way too much at a weird time, you might even have a mimosa or bloody mary and it just screws you up for the balance of the day. I mean, you don't eat breakfast because you're waiting for brunch, you don't eat lunch because you're eating brunch and once you've consumed all that alcohol and starchy goodiness, you have no interest in dinner. Ever. Oh, and you probably want to nap in the late afternoon too, which means you will never get to sleep that night and it's probably Sunday so you'll be totally messed up on Monday morning. Bottom line: don't look for me in your favorite brunch spot!
Unless of course, you are having brunch at Nice Matin in New York City.
I refuse to visit NYC without a brunch visit here. That's because I am addicted to their house toasted granola with cashews, almonds and dried cranberries. Add a serving of their "perfect grapefruit segments" and a dollop of yogurt and you will find yourself in granola-brunch heaven. Even me.
So don't ask me why (fond memories of Nice Matin, perhaps?) when NY Times food writer Melissa Clark published a recipe for granola in her one of her columns last July, I decided to try it. It sounded just quirky enough to be interesting.
Interesting? OMG, it was fabulous. I have made it many times since, including the other day when I needed to send a care package to my stressed-out son (remember him - the recipient of those whole wheat biscuits a while back?) While I sent him a fair share, I also managed to stash a decent amount of it in the pantry for myself. Didn't even tell Henry, either. Yeah, it's that good. Don't be deterred by the olive oil or the cardamom. They are essential. Trust me.
OLIVE OIL GRANOLA WITH PISTACHIOS
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, hulled
1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup shaved coconut (believe it or not, you can find this at Kroger)
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (use the real thing, NOT the Log Cabin crap)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup dried fruit, optional (chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries or whatever you like. Or not)
Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Combine all ingredients except dried fruit in a large bowl and toss well to blend. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet (do not use parchment as it will make it difficult when you stir in the middle of baking) and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown and well-toasted. (Note - baking time may vary due to the calibration of your oven. Just keep stirring every 10 minutes and baking until mixture is dried out and crunchy, but not overbaked).
Cool on baking sheet, then transfer to a large bowl and mix in dried fruit (if using). Store in airtight container and hide from everyone in your house if you want any leftover for yourself.
Yield: about 9 cups
I can eat this stuff straight out-of-hand, but if you are so inclined, serve it with some grapefruit segments and Fage 0% Greek yogurt, drizzled with honey. Then you get the tartness of the fruit, the crunchiness of the granola, the creaminess of the yogurt and the sweetness of the honey. BIG YUM!